The EWB-SCFL chapter is pleased to be able to close its program of work with the community of Ocho de Octubre (a.k.a. Segovia), Honduras. After several years of partnership with the community, culminating with the construction of a water distribution system, it has become apparent that the community’s active partnership with the neighboring municipality of La Esparanza is yielding rapid improvement of the community’s infrastructure and will more effectively address the community’s future needs than can EWB-SCFL.
Having designed, constructed, and conducted a one year follow up trip to assess the operation of the well, water tower, water distribution system, and pila projects, our chapter’s focus has been for most of the last two years on what other needs in the community could be addressed. The most pressing need is sanitation, followed by the need for electricity, garbage disposal, and possibly drainage improvements. The selection of sustainable technologies to address any of these needs, sanitation in particular, quickly proved problematic as it became increasingly clear that the community’s residents were simply too cosmopolitan to accept the relatively crude sanitation technologies within the reach of an EWB project. Combined with the ongoing destabilization of the political situation in Honduras (punctuated by the full withdrawal from the country by the U.S. Peace Corps, without whose assistance we could not have accomplished the projects to date), the loss of an active role from our in country NGO, the lack of a direct contact in the community to communicate with, and the realization that the community’s partnership with the neighboring municipality is yielding rapid results to address their needs, these factors have made it clear that the appropriate action for the EWB-SCFL chapter is to close our program in Ocho de Octubre and apply all of the lessons learned and remaining funds to our other program in Corail Lamothe, Haiti.
We would like to thank all of you that have contributed to our efforts, and the community of Ocho de Octbubre extends its gratitude for the life altering improvement that their water system has brought. We hope that as you look towards targeting your future giving that you will consider once again partnering with EWB-SCFL.
Andrew D Eiland, Jr
President - Engineers Without Borders, South Central Florida Professionals chapter
With the loss of the Peace Corps involvement, we continue to explore what our future involvement with the community of Segovia might be.
While rainy-season flooding and standing water are reported issues, we are working to get the communities "buy in" before tackling a project to address this need so that we may increase the long term success of any project we might undertake. Right now we are awaiting response to our communication asking for the community's aid in documenting the problem so that we might best craft a solution.
We are also exploring what the impact of acquiring and NGO to replace the Peace Corps role in our program with the community might be, and if this could allow us to begin moving forward again.
While we are continuing our planning for our future work in the community, We have also been reflecting back on the amazing progress this community has made through the efforts the past years of EWB, other NGOs and missionaries, and, of course, the great people in Ocho de Octobre. The community has completed construction of their pilla's and has been doing a great job on maintenance of their potable system. A reliable source of clean water has had such a huge impact on the overall health of the community. The community is also finishing building latrines for each home and has now even received electricity!
There is so much positive to talk about with this community and yet we are still planning for a few more items; An improved ditch network could eliminate standing water that breeds insects that carry disease and frustrates proper sewage disposal as well as basic hygiene, assisting with safety improvements on their water tower, and basic needs such as mosquito nets, shoes, and food. All your donations are appreciated!
Our planning for our future work in the community continues as we work to quantify the severity of rainy season flooding and it's disruptions to work and school attendance as well as quality of life in the community. Once the impact can be fully quantified, we will begin to gather topographic information and plan the storm water improvements. This project has the potential to be a huge return on a small investment; with minimal improvements to the existing ditches we may be realize great relief from the standing water the community currently suffers with in the rainy season. Inexpensive and easy to inspect and maintain, an improved ditch network could eliminate standing water that breeds insects that carry disease and frustrates proper sewage disposal as well as basic hygiene.
We also continue the work to ensure that the prior work in the community is successful long term by inspecting the financial and maintenance operations of the local water board (junta de agua). As correction to their operations is needed we will work with the community to make sure that they make the necessary maintenance and financial changes to their operations to ensure that the potable water system we designed and helped them to construct in our prior phases of work continues to function as designed for many years. We also endeavor to train up leaders in this community so that long after our team's involvement is at an end the water system will be sustainable and continue to serve the community without the need for outside resources.
Your donations to our cause will allow us to continue the needed data collection and monitoring of the community.
We are excited to be continuing our progress on our second phase of improvements for this great community. Riding the wave of excitement with seeing the tremendous success the community has had in using and maintaining the potable water system, we are moving on to phase two. Improving the poor drainage conditions will help both the health and quality of life for this community. We are currently working with our in-country partners, collecting design data, and preparing for our next trip. On this trip we plan to go over plans with the community and gain valuable community perspective before final design and construction.
Thank you for all your support in working with this amazing community!
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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EWB-USA SCFL President